Nothing has so enraged me since the dawn of this dangerous and complicated world we now face as the audacity of those who claim that America is in some way responsible for the actions of madmen who preyed upon the people of this country with utter disregard for human dignity and life. Palestinian apologists and Christian fundamentalists and Marxist intelligistas have seized upon this tragedy to break the silence of mourning with their cacophony of divisive and bitter tirades. Self-serving, immodest, and insensitive, these people seek to muddy the waters of debate that their misguided ends will somehow gain a legitimacy among the discussion. I refuse to allow their repugnance to stand so long as I have a voice left in me and the strength to stand against them.

I will defend with my life their right to voice their despicable opinions. I will not endorse their opinions. Rather, I will steadfastly oppose them as loudly and in as many places as needed. I will encourage others to do the same. I will forsake rest and comfort in my attempts. I will not allow the voices of a persistent few to drown out the many. That I simply cannot do.

The United States is the strongest country on the planet. Financially, culturally, politically, and militarily it exerts influence upon this world. It has that eminent luxury. But, with that luxury come responsibility and duty. The United States is called into unfathomable conflicts it cannot easily ally with or move against. It must choose, however. It must understand its importance in the world, tread lightly upon it, and be prepared, if necessary, to mete out punishment. This is not only what we must do; it is what has been asked of us. For every radical group that opposes us, there is an ethnic minority left starving that calls us to this task. For every military dictator that seizes power, there is a people who call for our aid in their struggle to govern themselves. For every bloody victory, there is a sanguine loss that must be healed. The United States has never shirked from its duty to this world, though many have asked that we do just that. It has undertaken its role with a solemn dedication and, if it has failed, it has done so not because it has not tried.

What narrow-minded critics of American policy conveniently neglect as they indict the United States as accessories to crimes committed on their own people is that this is not an imperialist nation. We cannot set up an American territorial government in South Vietnam or South Korea or the Philippines simply because that would be nationally expedient to do. We cannot support Afghan rebels against the Soviet Union and, upon their victory, impose upon them our demands or plant our flag there. Imperialism is an antiquated attempt to ensure safety of developed nations and it has been left where it belongs: in the past. Those who would label the United States as imperialistic have neither understanding of the concept nor cognizance of the world' s recent history.

We are called into every struggle that threatens the global peace. Sometimes there are difficult decisions to be made and sides to be taken. We not only have the pressing nature of the conflict to deal with, but also the watchful eyes of 180 other nations - many of whom would rather not be bothered. As a nation that seeks to achieve the equality its name implies, how can we support a radical, quasi-11th century regime that considers public executions a god-given right and cutting the hands off of women who attempt to attend school a solemn duty? How can we not directly oppose such a regime? We have provided more humanitarian aid to Afghanistan than any other nation on the planet in spite of its government' s cruelty. Further, we also must sanction governments that do not abide by international treaties and test nuclear weapons. We must sanction rogue nations like Iraq who prey upon the weaknesses of their neighbors and their own people. We must oust dictators who attempt to use ethnic-cleansing as a means to power. We must do these things because, if we did not, we would be condemned the world over for the very things we are condemned for by doing them: for being arrogant or content to protect our own interests.

Yes, innocent victims are the casualties of this. Do not think that the United States revels in this fact. Rather, we deplore it and seek its end. But, as long as there has been the guilty in this world, there have been innocent victims. Some will starve because of U.S. sanctions and some will beg for assistance and receive none. But, the alternative to economic sanctions is military action. We cannot fight every people' s battles in this world for them. At some point, oppressed people must stop rationalizing that peace through tyrannical rule is somehow more favorable than peace through cooperative governance. They must stop thinking that they have been lucky to have escaped the blade of fascism and must realize, but for some arbitrary circumstance, they might be the next to fall.

The United States, if anything, has proven that it is willing because it is able to help those who are committed to helping themselves.

Despite the protests of those for whom one struggle is more important than all others, the United States will continue to hold accountable those groups who do not wish to accede to the world' s right to peace. So long as Palestinians encourage and socially support the families of suicide bombers, the United States cannot side with them. So long as Middle Eastern nations continue to speak loudly of their condemnation for terrorism yet secretly finance and harbor its practitioners, the United States cannot completely trust them. So long as Israel resists the scorn of those who would kill every citizen within its internationally sanctioned borders, the United States must defend its ally. So long as there are people willing to kill indiscriminately Americans that this nation might live in fear, the United States will seek to destroy them regardless of nationality, ethnicity, or religion.

Ours is a struggle with no winners and only losers. America participates in the struggle nonetheless. In spite of those who criticize them for doing so or for doing so in the manner in which they do it. In spite of those who will deride them for it. Most importantly, in support of those who would not exist if we did not do so.

As an American, I will stand by our history in this world and, as a human being, I will acknowledge that it has not been perfect. As a citizen of this world, I will continue to encourage the progress that has been made towards peace, understanding its difficulties and complexities. What I will not do, however, is accept blame for the actions of murderous barbarians who intend to destroy what they refuse to participate in - the right of all men to live in peace.